Current Events Articles
While staying informed about the world around us can keep us connected and can offer helpful information, sometimes current events can come with a downside. The constant stream of media—especially regarding negative news—can affect mental health. For instance, stress, anxiety, fatigue, and mood changes can result from challenging current events. Stressful happenings in the world can have wide-ranging effects. A global pandemic, racial injustice, sexual harassment, gun violence, climate change, crimes, war, and natural disasters are just a few examples of what can be deeply concerning current events. There are helpful ways to manage mental health in the face of what may feel overwhelming or distressing. The articles below address issues of current events and mental health. Understanding the effects of what is happening in our world and knowing how we can handle them can help safeguard mental wellbeing.
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Medically reviewed by Andrea Brant, LMHC
Current events can shape us in many ways. Even if we don’t directly experience something, hearing about it, reading about it or watching it can have lasting effects on the way we feel. For example: Good news can make us feel good, and bad news can cause us worries, fear and sorrow.
Research has found data that suggests that news coverage can be more than just a set of facts for many. Feelings from the news can enter our subconscious—and even our dreams. This can potentially increase the risk of symptoms that could be associated with post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorder(s) and depression. In fact, more than half of Americans say that the news causes them stress, nervousness, fatigue or sleep loss.
Read on to learn more about how current events can affect one’s mental health, and how online therapy and other strategies can provide relief for many.
Why Are We Drawn To Bad News?
From an evolutionary standpoint, many experts believe that we may be “wired” to fight or flee to survive adverse effects. Because of this, they hypothesize that we often want to know what dangers are present so that we can face them or outrun them. This may explain the “negativity bias,” or the tendency to pay more attention to the negative things that are taking place.
For instance: If you hear about a bad weather event that’s on its way, you may have useful information to keep yourself safe inside or to evacuate. However, repeatedly hearing negative news can take a toll on mental health in unproductive ways.
How We Get Our News Has Changed
Although most can agree that bad news has likely been around since the dawn of time, how we hear about this news may have changed drastically. With today’s smartphones and the internet, we can now receive a constant stream of news. Along with the news, comments, retweets, opinions, arguments, commentary, gossip and other reactions can contribute to even more stress.
Managing Current Events To Protect Your Mental Health
Consciously managing your intake of news can protect you from its negative effects on mental health. For example: You might try to make a point of not engaging in “doomscrolling,” which can be defined as constantly scrolling and reading bad news. Instead of receiving alerts all day, you could set aside a certain time of day to check the news and limit how much time you spend on it.
Another recommendation that many may try is to read full articles, not just headlines or small bits, to get the full story (if you can tolerate it). Staying away from the news before bed may be a good idea if the news makes it difficult for you to sleep. The news can stimulate a brain that’s trying to relax. Additionally, the blue light from screens can disrupt sleep.
Using the internet or your phone to promote positive feelings can be a good alternative to constant news alerts. For instance, you could try replacing time spent on current events with positive activities; such as connecting with friends or loved ones, watching or reading something entertaining, listening to music or playing a game. Relaxation strategies after news consumption can also help. Examples may include deep breathing or consciously expressing gratitude for what is going right in your life or in the world.
Online Therapy Can Help You Manage Stress
If you’ve been experiencing stress or other mental health concerns due to current events, please know that help is available. Working with a therapist, either in person or online, can be highly beneficial. A licensed mental health professional can teach you stress management strategies and coping skills that can positively impact your overall mental health and well-being.
If visiting a therapist’s office isn’t convenient for you, you may wish to try online therapy. Online therapy can remove much of the stress that can accompany the task of attending a therapy session in person. Many online therapy platforms allow you to connect with a licensed therapist from anywhere you have a stable internet connection.
Is Online Therapy Effective?
As this study explains, online therapy can be effective in treating numerous mental health conditions. It can also be particularly effective in alleviating the symptoms of stress and anxiety disorders. If you believe you’d benefit from therapy, please don’t hesitate to reach out. The team at BetterHelp is committed to your success.
Current events can take a toll on our mental health. Learning how to moderate the flow of news can be a helpful step in preventing excessive stress or emotional strain. Online therapy can be a convenient way for many to access support in times of stress. BetterHelp can connect you with an online therapist in your area of need.